Match Day Monday – Round 12

I’m not going to undersell this weekend and say everyone has been focussed on the W-League and the craziness that has ensued there this weekend. Let’s face it that would be a lie. In the same breath I don’t want to speculate further on Staj’s dismissal than what I’ve already wrote (go check out Staj Gone if you’re out of the loop), at the very least until more information can be released. Instead this is a business as usual post. We’ve got Match Day Monday to talk about yeah.

 

Canberra United v Melbourne Victory || ABANDONED to be replayed.

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This round shad a lightning start. And by lightning I mean there was legit thunder and lightning at the match. The opening 20 minutes saw Victory pull out such a commanding performance the weather considered it good enough to thunder it’s appreciation and bring encouragement to the Melbourne side with some lightning. Unfortunately the referee and player safety practice didn’t appreciate the applause of the sky, and called for everyone to leave the pitch before lightning struck.

The moment the thunder break was forced, I counted my lucky stars. I’d been contemplating a sneaky trip to the shops for some ice cream. The mandatory half an hour of the field was more than enough time to make the trip. However, returned with ice cream in hand, it soon became clear the match wasn’t going to carry on. The call was made, at this point in the season no one wants to drop points, so the coaches agreed to a re-scheduled match and that was it. I was left to spend my Thursday night with a tub of ice cream and feeling unfulfilled at the amount of footy on my ipad screen. But player safety first, always.

 

Adelaide United 1 – 4 Western Sydney Wanderers

I want to take a moment to appreciate the reality of dreams do indeed come true. The Wanderers, the winless, hopeless Wanderers. My noobs, the side my heart for some reason has grown to adore (my head needs words with my heart clearly), FINALLY got it done. The Western Sydney Wanderers finally won a game! And not just “won” a game, but comprehensively, were the much better side, won the game. It’s been the longest of seasons for them, but finally they’ve got the win.

Honestly I had to switch this game over after an hour, and my head was in things that weren’t on the screen (there’s a lot going on yeah), but here are a few of my observations.

Adelaide are lost without their midfield general in Jonsdottir. Yeah sure, no Icelandics, no party for Adelaide. But in reality, it’s Jonsdottir that enforces the shape and discipline Adelaide have come to rely on all season. Jonsdottir is filling that space left between the lines and covering for players. Adelaide missed this. Instead, WSW were able to get through Adelaide’s set up with surprising ease, whilst Adelaide weren’t as composed without the ball as they usually were. Even in attack Adelaide looked different, instead of composed, calculated counters, they appeared to take everyone up with them, then not have the cover when the Wanderers countered. It was an odd game for Adelaide, but surely a massive learning experience for their young players. Huge blow for their top four aspirations though.

The Wanderers, Addo was magic for them. If she had a better eye in for goal, she could probably have tied up the golden boot award for this game alone. Just in the last 30 minutes of the game she had at least three chances she fluffed up. Whilst Addo could only bag the one super late for her side, she proved the difference. A player who is so strong on the ball and knows when to release and let another player through, Addo is simply everything the Wanderers would be wishing they’d had from the start of the season. Not only was Addo special, but the Wanderers mentality for this match was too. I’m convinced the side nicked some of Pope’s can of spinach for lunch, because they were relentless here. All the potential and patches of good play I’ve been clinging to and pointing out to others asking whether they are “really that bad”, finally played out in a full 90 minutes. They transitioned quickly, had players actually in and around the box, and looked dangerous in attack. It was beautiful.

 

Brisbane Roar 1 – 3 Sydney FC

In terms of a contest, this match was everything you wish it could be. Both sides were formidable, making the game absolutely droolworthy. Brisbane dominated territory in large patches, but Sydney took their chances. The Roar looked marvellous in the midfield, with the likes of Boureille pulling out moves that made you want to clap and throw her all your money. However it was Sydney’s defence winning the day, dealing with the Roar chances by keeping a tight line at the top of the box, where even a ninja would find it difficult to break through.

The important things you need to know for this match?

Firstly, Raso’s return. She lit up the field. I forgot just how much I missed the dazzling, ribbons adorning forward. While Brisbane didn’t score when she got on the field at the half time break, they came flaming close. If it wasn’t for Bledsoe being up to the challenge, Raso could’ve bagged at least one. Just her ability to create space between the lines, with her agility whilst dribbling the ball is eye-catching. Add in she is still absolutely fearless and I felt like almost acting as her mother and yelling “you’ve only just come back from injury, play it easy”. However that’s why we love Raso yeah, and probably the reason why she is back on the park at all. Raso for starting XI in the World Cup, may this happen please.

Secondly, Foord’s in form. I’d mentioned before the match Foord will be the game changer to drag the match into Sydney’s favour. And she did. Yeah McCaskill was the one to create the chances, but it was Foord who finished them, showing a cool, calm composure in front of goal that you hope to replicate in job interviews but never quite can. This Sydney display differed from most this season as it didn’t involve Sydney absolutely peppering the opposition’s box in search for goals and missing countless opportunities. Instead, they seemingly turned the tables, working the transitions off the counters with lightning pace, aiming to catch the Roar defence off guard and use Foord composure in front of goal to bag enough to win off few chances. The tactic worked. Well played Sydney.

 

Melbourne City 4 – 0 Newcastle Jets

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So City have finally arrived to the party, it’s only taken until round 12 for them to do this. Finally the nice, neat passing of City that leave teams absolutely dead in the midfield, translated into goals on the score sheet. A few of their goals had the look of pingpong amongst the City players, as they used one touch combinations to move around the Jets like water finds its way through gaps, to then find a player unmarked in the mixer to slot the ball home. This is the City we all hoped for at the start of the season, with this type of football that make the Soccer Passing Gods proud and smile with glee.

Unfortunately City’s found form came at the expense of a lost Jets. Unable to deal with City’s play through the centre of the park, the Jets even struggled to utilise the wings, with neither Catley and Nielsen letting much past them. Credit to the side, they looked to change things up at half time in pursuit of some part of the spoils. However the were simply outclassed at the end. The harsh reality of losing two key internationals and your Matildas midfield engine was clearly on display against a City side who have international talent by the buckets and could even ring in American College graduate Mace to help them later in the match. This season hasn’t been nice for the Jets and this game demonstrates that. The beginning of the second half saw a potential for optimism, as the side had a decent spell with the ball at their feet. However they just couldn’t break through City and take a hit to truly challenge Williams.

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